Buoyed by a strong box office haul overseas, it was two years ago when Paramount officially issued the green light on Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 2, but since then all has been quiet on the fantastical front. Over the weekend, though, Deadline broke news of the sequel finally beginning to pick up speed at the studio, with Bruno Aveillan supplanting Timmy Wirkola in the director’s chair.
Set to make his feature film debut, Aveillan has carved out a reputation for his commercial work hitherto, and it looks as though he’ll be overseeing Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton’s titular, monster-hunting siblings for Witch Hunters 2. Having passed on directorial duties, it’s understood that Wirkola – who helmed the 2013 sleeper hit – has penned an early version of the screenplay, and that the biggest hurdle currently facing the industry heads at Paramount is working around Renner’s bustling schedule.
New takes on old tales proved to be a burgeoning, overly successful trend in Hollywood a few years ago, what with Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman and the ilk. Much like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 2, Sanders’ feature is also getting the sequel treatment, albeit from the direction of an origins story focusing on Chris Hemsworth’s. A novel spin on the famed Brothers Grimm fairytale, though we’ll reserve judgement until the follow-up lands in 2016.
Meanwhile, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters may have only grossed a measly $55 million domestically, but it was the overseas market that effectively salvaged the atypical fairytale feature, paving the way for Aveillan’s follow-up.
According to Deadline, both Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner are in line to reprise their role as the titular bounty hunters for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 2 – though when the sequel will find time to step in front of the cameras is another question entirely.